Marcelo Cake-Baly, who came to study in Hungary from war-torn Guinea-Bissau in 1976, makes his debut in a Hungarian movie about the life of an African refugee. Jane Witherspoon reports
It's a film about the life of an African refugee, who, after losing his family in a war, settles in Budapest to work as a security guard in a shopping centre. 'The Citizen is art imitiating life somewhat for Marcelo Cake-Baly who plays Wilson. Marcelo came to Hungary from from war to ginee beesow Guinea-Bissau in 1976 and has been working as a tramdriver for over a decade after struggling to find a job as a trained economist. This is his acting debut. (SOUNDBITE) Actor, Marcelo Cake-Baly, saying (English): "I feel I am Hungarian, but in the street I look African. It is not written on me how long I have lived here, that I have a Hungarian family, I work here, I am a tax-paying citizen, it is not written on me, people just see me as a migrant when I go out in the street." Director Roland Vranik's third feature film comes at a time when Hungary has barely any refugees left after its rightwing government raised a fence on the southern border and imposed tough laws to keep out migrants at all costs. He believes Europeans are still ready to help those in need and says his film is "completely timeless and also spaceless." (SOUNDBITE) Director, Roland Vranik, saying (English): "We have this mass psychosis, you know, when we just got scared, which is the actual nature of fear, you know, we got scared of that faceless faceless crowd which we call 'migrant', you know, we got scared of that and I think you have to respect that one, you should not be cynical about that fear, it is a very serious thing, you know, it happened all over history, you know, it's coming from very far from the history, we have that in our instinct, you know. So we have to understand that but I still believe that European citizens are still helpful and still human beings who understand that these people need help." The Citizen opnes in Hungarian cinemas on January 26th.